'Azzun, 'Izbet alTabib, Habla, Jinsafut
‘Izbet alTabib, ‘Azzun, Jinsafut
We drove ourselves.
We had planned to hold the weekly meeting with the women in ‘Asla, but shortly before we left I read the update about the roadblock at ‘Izbet alTabib, which is where we take the road to ‘Asla.
I telephoned Musa; we arranged to meet at the entrance to the village for an update and take a ride on Highway 55 to hear from the residents what’s been happening to them during the past few days.
When we arrived I updated S., the coordinator, that we aren’t able to reach ‘Asla because of the roadblock. She told us things were quiet there, with no problems.
Musa generously suggested that if the tension continues next week we should meet in ‘Izbet alTabib; that’s what we’ll do.
10:10 We reached ‘Izbet alTabib. The entry road to the village is blocked by concrete barriers, yellow taxis waiting, apparently for people arriving on foot from the other side of the barrier.
The army blocked the road last night around 23:15 by order of the sector commander.
Musa joined us; we continue to ‘Azzun. An army jeep stands to the left of the village entrance, three soldiers alongside. On the right there’s an ATV with Israeli plates. One of the soldiers says the vehicle is with them. Interesting.. The yellow gate at the entrance to the village is closed, soldiers standing next to it, concrete barriers on the road. No one leaves or enters. Last night, we heard, soldiers entered the town and arrested a young man. A routine event.
The double roadblock at ‘Izbet alTabib and ‘Azzun is illegal collective punishment which severely harms the free movement of residents of nearby villages: Jayyus, ‘Asla, Kufr Thulth. They all must make a very long detour via Qalqilya and Habla to leave or enter their villages. It turns a 3 minute trip into a 30 kilometer journey.
11:00 Jinsafut. Last night there was a raid on the village during which one resident was arrested. His father told us his son is 34, married with three small children, works in the family business selling tile and marble. During the arrest family members were put in one room, the soldiers beat the son in front of the little children, searched the house, emptied the contents of the cupboards onto the floor, broke the cupboard doors and marble tiles, spilled sacks of grain and caused considerable damage. The father worked in Israel for many years; he now works in the Tzofim settlement. He hasn’t gone to work for the past two days because of what’s been going on and he’s worried about his son. Yesterday an officer called the family, told them the son was being held in Huwwara. The father asked us to help find out where and how he is. I photographed the son’s ID card and said we’d try to assist.
11:45 We parted with heavy hearts and continued to al Funduq. The village appears quiet. On the way back we went to Laqif which also seemed quiet.
12:15 Heavy traffic on Highway 55 on the way back, including some military vehicles.
‘Azzun – the soldiers have left. The roadblock is still there.
13:00 Habla agricultural gate. An army jeep parks at the turn off from Highway 55, a soldier standing alongside.
A somewhat more thorough questioning and inspection was carried out than usual at the Eliyahu crossing; ID’s, opening the trunk, interrogation about where we’re coming from.
We ended the shift with a bad feeling. Blocked villages, arbitrary arrests, violence, damage to property won’t bring back those who were kidnapped but it will certain increase the residents’ hostility, frustration and despair.
These and other practices have been carried out for half a century; unfortunately, we never seem to learn.